It’s no secret that throughout the past decade, soccer has grown in popularity at a rate that hasn’t been experienced by any other sport. Even as new fans are popping up on a regular basis, there’s still a general lack of knowledge among the “average” American sports fan. Note that when I say “international soccer,” I’m most referring to UEFA.
If there’s one thing we know about American sports fans though, it’s that if you can bet on it, they’ll play along. International soccer provides plenty of excitement and opportunity to grow your bankroll if you know what you’re doing. In this article, I’ll lay out some beginner tips for betting on international soccer.
1 – Find a Handful of Go-To Sources for Information
Even if you have very limited knowledge when it comes to the world of betting on soccer, especially soccer played in continent’s on the other side of the globe, there’s good news: It’s one of the most popular (if not the most popular) sports in the world. Because it generates so much global interest, there are a number of resources that cover the sport on a surface level, in depth, and everywhere in between.
Before you begin your career as a soccer handicapper, you need to find some reliable sources of information that you can lean on when you need some insights. That means putting in a little time to nail down a handful (probably two or three) websites that you feel comfortable checking in on for the latest updates, stats, game previews, etc.
What you’ll find is that, somewhat counterintuitively, your lack of knowledge can actually work to your advantage because you’ll always be doing the necessary research in order to understand what’s happening with the teams in question. When it comes to sports such as football, for example, you can suffer from the bias that can best be described as “know-it-all.”
Since you’ll have to reference the experts on a regular basis, make sure you save the websites to reference them quickly, preferably before you make any bets. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there are more than enough soccer podcasts available to keep you informed. Try finding a few to keep you up on the latest news from around the game.
2 – Learn the Types of Bets You Can Make
Those who are new to betting on soccer might not be familiar with the types of bets available. Of course you can bet on the winner or loser, but you might also see a number of unfamiliar plays that you won’t see with traditional American sports.
First, I’ll begin by mentioning that for American sports fans, one of the most popular plays (and one with great value) is something that might be considered a bad word around here: the draw (or tie). Yes, you can bet on this outcome, and it’s a good idea to take it seriously as the odds are often +200, +300, and even greater in certain situations.
Nobody likes seeing a tie. But if you have a 3x payout waiting for you on the other should the game end all knotted up, you’ll find yourself rooting for a draw like you never through you would as an American sports fan. If the moneylines are close (meaning that the game could go either way) the tie option might have the best value.
Not to mention, even European sports fans don’t love to bet on ties, so there’s a bit of a “fade the public” angle throw into betting on the draw. If you subscribe to that theory (and you probably should), keep that in mind before locking in any of your plays.
Finally, my personal favorite bet is the win/draw option. To break it down as simply as possible, sportsbooks will place odds on a team’s win/draw likelihood, meaning if you bet on Team A and they either win, or the game ends in a draw, your bet will hit. It’s worth mentioning that you should carefully evaluate the odds before you bet this; in some cases, it won’t be worth it.
The rest of the betting options you’ll see are fairly intuitive and you shouldn’t have any problem understanding them if you’re a regular bettor. As always, the key word is value.
3 – Find a Good Sportsbook
Most sportsbooks will have some betting options for soccer; it is the world’s most popular game after all. With that being said, you don’t want to settle for just any sportsbook when you’re focusing on one sport in particular.
Some bettors might disagree, but I prefer to utilize a sportsbook that lean toward different sports specifically. In America, most major sportsbooks (FanDuel, MGM, etc.) are great for American sports like baseball, basketball, and football (and least the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA sports).
f you’re looking to bet on sporting events or leagues that are hosted outside of the US, for example European basketball leagues or soccer organizations, it might be in your best interest to find a betting platform geared toward those leagues.
As I’ve stated several times in this article, soccer is not one of the top revenue-drivers for sportsbooks in the US. However, if you went to Europe, the market share of soccer betting makes the NFL look like small-time stuff. Thus, there are several sportsbooks based in Europe that are accessible online that are much better-suited to soccer betting than the ones you might be used to using in the US.
It’s probably a stretch to say that these sites are going to help you win a significant amount of money more than if you used a US-based sportsbook on online betting platform, but if your goal is to max out every potential dollar, I’d recommend finding something intended for soccer.
As a side note, make sure you take advantage of all potential bonus offerings that you’ll find when you sign up for a new site. If you’re betting on soccer for the first time, it goes without saying that you’ll want to get all the free play/deposit match, etc. bonuses that you can get your hands on.
4 – Watch the Matches When You Can
Look, I’m not going to suggest that you must watch the sports you bet on. I think I speak for everyone when I say sometimes you just want to have a little skin in the game, even if you really aren’t interested in the event – or the sport – itself. Personally, betting on Korean baseball during the sports drought that was summer 2020 comes to mind.With that said, you’re only going to benefit as both a handicapper and a sports fan if you carve out some time to watch the matchups yourself.
Remember, soccer matches are not the three-to-four-hour affairs that you’ve come to expect from nearly all-American sports (even NBA games, with its 48-minute clock, routinely go 2.5 hours or more). From start to finish, you can usually get in and out in less than 120 minutes.
Plenty of bet options don’t make any sense if you don’t know what’s going on with the teams and their players. For example, prop bets, like whether or not a player will score a goal or have an assist is not a play you’re going to make if you don’t know who a player even is in the first place.
My final persuasive argument to get you to watch soccer is that it’s almost always on when traditional US sports are not. That means you won’t have to choose between soccer and another sport, you’ll just have more sports overall. And who can complain about that?
Ready to give soccer a shot? You might be surprised at how quickly you start appreciating “the beautiful game.” Limited commercials, a 90-minute game clock, and non-stop action means that your viewing experience is typically under two hours—take that, NFL!
If you’ve fallen into a handicapping rut, or have simply become a little tired of making (and losing) the same old bets you’ve been doing for years, spreading your wings to international soccer is a way to make sports betting fun and interesting again. When it comes down to it, what do you have to lose?